Brand of boxing brings street grudges into the ring

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Fights that might’ve normally happened the street are now moving into the ring for a new brand of boxing that pits true enemies against each other.

Rival lawyers have gone at it during Brawl for it All, bringing suitcases into the ring for the introductions.

Then there are fights involving oil-and-water duos like Dino Guilmette and Louis Savastano.

Guilmette, 38, has trained in boxing gyms for quite a while, but never fought in an actual bout.

The chance to fight Savastano was one he couldn’t turn down.

“I don’t like him at all,” Guilmette said.

The feelings are mutual, according to Savastano, a former professional baseball player who just started training to box.

“He’s just a bully around town. Big tough guy. We banged heads a couple of times,” Savastano said.

The May 20 event at The Last Resort in Smithfield was created by Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Fitness, with some help from former boxer Jarrod Tillinghast.

“I’m friendly with both of them,” Tillinghast said. “They really don’t like each other. There’s bad blood.”

Brawl For It All is aimed at moving the bad blood into an arena and putting head gear and 16-ounce gloves on the would-be bare-knuckle brawlers, with USA Boxing rules and approval.

A donation from the upcoming rundown of bouts will be given to the Gary Balletto Foundation.

Balletto is recovering from an accident that damaged his spinal cord. The former professional boxer is Tillinghast’s cousin.

Organizers expect this concept of boxing to find footing alongside amateur and professional bouts, potentially keeping street fighters out of trouble.

“I had to get between these two a couple of times to diffuse the bomb,” Tillinghast said. “I said guys, let’s do it the right way. This way everyone can shake hands and go home in one piece. No problem.”

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